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  #1  
Old 03-02-2014, 07:21 PM
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Ball Joint Removal?

Does anyone have experience in removing the front (upper control arm) ball joint from the steering knuckle? I have both the bolts that hold it in removed, now I need to figure out how to drive it out. It is pretty blocked from above by the CV axle boot. Curious if anyone else has done this and how they got the old ball joints out. (2001 X5 3.0).

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2014, 08:12 PM
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hi tankowner

I just went through this with my 2005. I found those two ball joints were a chore.

In researching what I came across were these tid bits that others posted as help:
*soak it with PB Blaster overnight
*use pipe wrench to twist the ball joint base within the knuckle by grabbing it from the bottom
*use an air chisel to impact rattle lose
*find right sized puller that can grab ball joint's nut shaft and pull downward
*remove the steering knuckle and then attack
*careful not to damage the ABS sensor, bearing etc, so no torch heating

Perhaps others here will have some other suggestions or tricks

I also found that a lot of posters here talk about all of the front end suspension parts being really easy to change but when you probe for details often they re-use the ball joints. I would agree that other parts on the front end were reasonable to change but the ball joints coming out of the knuckles were chore.

I will admit that it is the one thing in years that I took my car to a local small indy shop for. In the end he used an air rattler (like an air chisel with a u shape attachment) with 3 minutes of impacting to rattle them loose while pulling them downward. Took him 30mins per each ball joint to remove. The longer I watched the better I felt about paying a bit.

Hoping yours might come easier than mine (90K miles). I will say that changing out the ball joints was worth it. I had roughly a week with all new bushings and the old ball joints. Once I had the new ball joints in there the X tracks like a car again and the rattle which I could hear over speed bumps which dealer and previous owner never could find are fully fixed now.
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  #3  
Old 03-02-2014, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Junkycosmos View Post
hi tankowner

I just went through this with my 2005. I found those two ball joints were a chore.

In researching what I came across were these tid bits that others posted as help:
*soak it with PB Blaster overnight
*use pipe wrench to twist the ball joint base within the knuckle by grabbing it from the bottom
*use an air chisel to impact rattle lose
*find right sized puller that can grab ball joint's nut shaft and pull downward
*remove the steering knuckle and then attack
*careful not to damage the ABS sensor, bearing etc, so no torch heating

Perhaps others here will have some other suggestions or tricks

I also found that a lot of posters here talk about all of the front end suspension parts being really easy to change but when you probe for details often they re-use the ball joints. I would agree that other parts on the front end were reasonable to change but the ball joints coming out of the knuckles were chore.

I will admit that it is the one thing in years that I took my car to a local small indy shop for. In the end he used an air rattler (like an air chisel with a u shape attachment) with 3 minutes of impacting to rattle them loose while pulling them downward. Took him 30mins per each ball joint to remove. The longer I watched the better I felt about paying a bit.

Hoping yours might come easier than mine (90K miles). I will say that changing out the ball joints was worth it. I had roughly a week with all new bushings and the old ball joints. Once I had the new ball joints in there the X tracks like a car again and the rattle which I could hear over speed bumps which dealer and previous owner never could find are fully fixed now.
Thanks, Junky! I appreciate the feedback; these are good tips.

I've done the lower control arms and the tie rods and, as you say, they weren't that bad. I was hoping these ball joints wouldn't be bad either, but I can see now that it won't be easy. I've done these before on other vehicles where I had to take the knuckle off and then drive the ball joints out with a big punch and sledge hammer. Those were pressed in ball joints, so I was hoping these ones would not be quite as bad. But, with all the crud and rust in there, I guess I am probably having to go the same route here. If anyone else has any good ideas, feel free to chime in. I will let you all know what eventually ends up working out.
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  #4  
Old 03-02-2014, 09:42 PM
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I replaced both my ball joints last Fall when I also replaced the thrust arm bushings. I finally got around to replacing my control arms a couple of weekends ago and all combined make a huge improvement. Fortunately for me both ball joints didn't require any extra ordinary measures to remove. The "end" of the ball joint is open along the bottom ridge of your steering knuckle (just underneath where the CV axle mates to your hub). There you can spray generously WD-40 or PB and allow to soak. With a small pipe wrench fastened on the base of the ball joint, try to turn and break it loose. Another application of PB may be necessary. Once loose you should be able to twist and pull the ball joint out of the knuckle.

Good luck.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristophe View Post
I replaced both my ball joints last Fall when I also replaced the thrust arm bushings. I finally got around to replacing my control arms a couple of weekends ago and all combined make a huge improvement. Fortunately for me both ball joints didn't require any extra ordinary measures to remove. The "end" of the ball joint is open along the bottom ridge of your steering knuckle (just underneath where the CV axle mates to your hub). There you can spray generously WD-40 or PB and allow to soak. With a small pipe wrench fastened on the base of the ball joint, try to turn and break it loose. Another application of PB may be necessary. Once loose you should be able to twist and pull the ball joint out of the knuckle.

Good luck.

Thanks, Kristophe!

This pipe wrench approach sounds like it is worth a shot before I go through the trouble of pulling the knuckle.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2014, 10:35 PM
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Air hammer .....brrrrrrrrp
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2014, 12:43 AM
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PB blaster was the key when I did my ball joints. Soak them and let them sit then attack with a pickle fork and some taps from a small sledge. The first side took a bit of convincing but the one that sat longer with the PB came out pretty fast.
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Old 03-03-2014, 02:28 AM
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Let me save you a headache and any future ones. One particular one i recently did i used torch, sledge, air hammer, pickle fork and didnt budge. This pulled it out immediantly.

Get this -

3/4" Forged Ball Joint Separator


You dont need anything else ever again for tierods/balljoints/ etc in suspension, remove the nut put this bad boy on, just grease the bolt threads and put an impact gun to it.

Comes off/out in 5 sec.
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2014, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4.8isX5 View Post
Let me save you a headache and any future ones. One particular one i recently did i used torch, sledge, air hammer, pickle fork and didnt budge. This pulled it out immediantly.

Get this -

3/4" Forged Ball Joint Separator


You dont need anything else ever again for tierods/balljoints/ etc in suspension, remove the nut put this bad boy on, just grease the bolt threads and put an impact gun to it.

Comes off/out in 5 sec.
This tool cannot remove the wheel suspension joint. According to TIS, there is a special tool to be used to remove this ball joint, but I don't know where I can buy it. Anyone know where I can get the speical tool?
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2014, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogerkiu View Post
This tool cannot remove the wheel suspension joint. According to TIS, there is a special tool to be used to remove this ball joint, but I don't know where I can buy it. Anyone know where I can get the speical tool?
How do you know this separator can't be used?

Do you have a picture or the part number for the special BMW tool?
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